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Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT

Storey's Guide to Keeping Honey Bees

Take a peek into our latest featured title: Storey’s Guide To Keeping Honey Bees. This informative little book was written by Malcom T. Sanford and Richard E. Bonney, and imparts a great deal of information on honey production, pollination, and bee health. Below are some excerpts and photos from the book. Enjoy!

Storey's Guide to Keeping Honey Bees

On Pollination:
It is well known that the value of pollination and its resultant seed set and fruit formation outweigh any provided by honey bee products like honey and beeswax. The pollination part of plant production, however, has taken a back seat to other considerations by farmers such as soil condition, moisture availability, diseases, and pest pressures.

Many people currently keeping bees have entered the craft with the intention of providing true economic value in terms of pollination. For most, this will be invisible as they focus on the harvest of various products the honey bee offers. Some, however, will inevitably be interested in providing pollination services, whether to increase production in a home garden or to develop commercial opportunities in the larger grower community.

Marking a Queen

On Marking The Queen:
Pick her up by the wings and thorax, never the abdomen. Use one hand to pluck her off the comb and then transfer her to the other hand, being careful not to grab her legs in the process. Apply the paint to the top of the thorax. Do not get any on the abdomen or head! Let the paint dry for a minute or two before returning the queen to the nest. Lacquer sold in hobby shops for painting models, typing correction fluid, and fingernail polish are all acceptable. Make sure it dries quickly, an essential attribute of any marking solution.

There is an international color-marking protocol that has been published, although not everyone follows this convention. The last digit or the year determines the color:

  • The year ends in 0 or 5 : The color is Blue
  • The year ends in 1 or 6 : The color is White
  • The year ends in 2 or 7 : The color is Yellow
  • The year ends in 3 or 8 : The color is Red
  • The year ends in 4 or 9 : The color is Green

Clipping the Queen Bee

On Clipping The Queen:
Another possibility is to clip the queen’s wing. It doesn’t make her as noticeable a marking, but does keep her from flying off with a swarm. Once the bees notice the queen is not with them, they will usually return to the hive. The queen can easily become lost in the process, however. Clipping is usually done with a pain of sharp scissors. Again, she must be immobilized. Be sure not to clip more than one-third of the wing as there are tiny veins that run through it.

Top Bar Hive

On The New Top Bar Hive:
TBH (Top Bar Hive) beekeeping is easier on both bees and beekeeper, according to Dr. Mangum. Here are some reasons:

  • The brood is generally placed toward the front-entrance end of the hive and the honey is located in the rear. Examining the brood or taking off honey is, therefore, less stressful on the insects because one doesn’t have to dismantle the whole colony.
  • The top bars butt against each other. Because of this they double as a cover, reducing material requirements and conserving weight. An outer cover of tin or cardboard is necessary, however, to protect the colony from moisture.
  • Only the part of the hive being worked is exposed during manipulation, which reduces overall defensiveness.
  • Finally, all Dr. Mangum’s hived are mounted on stands at waist level, keeping him from having to bend over.

Top bar beekeeping isn’t for everyone, but it’s worth a try for anyone considering a kinder, gentler way to keep bees.

Spotlight On: Farming Systems & Approaches

Starting Seeds

From Dusty Shelves: A WWII era article from Farming For Security

Horse Labor Instead of Tractors

Horse Labor Instead of Tractors

by:
from issue:

Three different parcels of land were committed for a series of tests to directly compare the impact of tractors and horses on the land. One side of each parcel was worked only with horses and the other only with tractors. There were measurable differences between each side of the worked areas; the land’s capacity to hold water and greater aeration were up to 45cm higher in areas worked by horses as opposed to tractors.

Congo Farm Project

Congo Farm Project

by:
from issue:

I was at day one, standing outside an old burnt-out Belgian plantation house, donated to us by the progressive young chief of the village of Luvungi. My Congolese friend and I had told him that we would need to hire some workers to help clear the land around the compound, and to put a new roof on the building. I thought we should be able to attract at least 20 workers. Then, I looked out to see a crowd of about 800 eager villagers, each one with their own hoe.

Laying Out Fields For Plowing

Laying Out Fields For Plowing

from issue:

Before starting to plow a field much time can be saved if the field is first staked out in uniform width lands. Methods that leave dead furrows running down the slope should be avoided, as water may collect in them and cause serious erosion. The method of starting at the sides and plowing around and around to finish in the center of the field will, if practiced year after year, create low areas at the dead furrows.

The Farmer and the Horse

The Farmer & The Horse

In New Jersey — land of The Sopranos, Jersey Shore, and the Turnpike — farmland is more expensive than anywhere else. It’s not an easy place to try to start a career as a farmer. But for a new generation of farmers inspired by sustainability, everything seems possible. Even a farm powered by draft horses.

Cultivating Questions A Diversity of Cropping Systems

Cultivating Questions: A Diversity of Cropping Systems

As a matter of convenience, we plant all of our field vegetables in widely spaced single rows so we can cultivate the crops with one setup on the riding cultivator. Row cropping makes sense for us because we are more limited by labor than land and we don’t use irrigation for the field vegetables. As for the economics of planting produce in work horse friendly single rows, revenue is comparable to many multiple row tractor systems.

Back to the Land

Back to the Land

by:
from issue:

Tired of living in a crowded urban environment with its deafening noise and bumper-to-bumper traffic and eager to escape what they saw as an economy bent on destroying the planet, Matt and Tasha left their home in the Washington, DC metropolitan area in March 2014. In doing so, they became modern-day pioneers, part of a wave of Americans who have chosen to go back to the land over the past decade, seeking to reclaim and rebuild their lives and to forge a deeper connection to the earth, the animals that inhabit it, and to each other.

Portrait of a Garden

Portrait of a Garden

As the seasons slip by at a centuries-old Dutch estate, an 85-year-old pruning master and the owner work on cultivating crops in the kitchen garden. To do this successfully requires a degree of obsessiveness, the old man explains in this calm, observational documentary. The pruning master still works every day. It would be easier if he were only 60 and young.

Soil, Vegetation, and Acidity

From Dusty Shelves: Audels Gardeners and Growers Guide teaches us about soil acidity.

Sustainable Forestry

Sustainable Forestry

by:
from issue:

After 70 plus years of industrial logging, the world’s forests are as degraded and diminished as its farmlands, or by some estimates even more so. And this is a big problem for all of us, because the forests of the world do much more than supply lumber, Brazil nuts, and maple syrup. Farmlands produce food, a basic need to be sure, but forests are responsible for protecting and purifying the air, water and soil which are even more basic.

Organic To Be or Not To Be

Organic: To Be or Not To Be

by:
from issue:

How do our customers know that we’re accurately representing our products? That’s the key, the reason that a third party verification system was created, right? I think this is the beauty of a smaller-scale, community-based direct market food system. During parts of the year, my customers drive past my sheep on their way to the farmers’ market. At all times of the year, we welcome visitors to our farm. In other words, our production practices are entirely open for our customers to see.

Horsedrawn No-Till Garlic

Horsedrawn No-Till Garlic

We were inspired to try no-tilling vegetables into cover crops after attending the Groffs’ field day in 1996. No-tilling warm season vegetables has proved problematic at our site due to the mulch of cover crop residues keeping the soil too cool and attracting slugs. We thought that no-tilling garlic into this cover crop of oats and Canadian field peas might be the ticket as garlic seems to appreciate being mulched.

Cultivating Questions Winterkilled Cover Crops for a Mild Climate

Cultivating Questions: Winterkilled Cover Crops For A Mild Climate Part 1

Our mild climate makes it too easy to overwinter cover crops. Then the typically wet springs (and, on our farm, wet soils) let the cover put on loads of topgrowth before getting on the soil. Buckwheat is the only crop that I can be certain will winterkill. Field peas, oats, annual rye and crimson clover have all overwintered here. Any suggestions?

Such a One Horse Outfit

Such a One Horse Outfit

by:
from issue:

One day my stepfather brought over a magazine he had recently subscribed to. It was called Small Farmer’s Journal published by a guy named Lynn Miller. That issue had a short story about an old man that used a single small mule to garden and skid firewood with. I was totally fascinated with the prospect of having a horse and him earning his keep. It sorta seemed like having your cake and eating it too.

Sustainable

Sustainable

Sustainable is a documentary film that weaves together expert analysis of America’s food system with a powerful narrative of one extraordinary farmer who is determined to create a sustainable future for his community. In a region dominated by commodity crops, Marty Travis has managed to maintain a farming model that is both economically viable and environmentally safe.

Chicken Guano: Top-Notch Fertilizer

Whoever thought I’d be singing the praises of chicken poop? I am, and I’m not the only one. Chickens are walking nitrogen-rich manure bins.

Starting Your Farm

Starting Your Farm: Chapter 2

How do you learn the true status of that farm with the “for sale” sign? Here are some important pieces of information for you to learn about a given selling farm. The answers will most probably tell you how serious the seller is.

Small Farmer's Journal

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT